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Newt Gingrich's political director in Iowa, Craig Bergman, resigned yesterday over comments that he made to a focus group calling Mormonism, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's religion, a cult. He pointed out that the fact that Romney is a mormon would hurt him in the election against President Obama. The comment was made on TheIowaRepublican.com.
During the focus group discussion Bergman said, “A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon. … There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that.”
Bergman was only in place as political director for less than a week. He became the director after his comments on last Wednesday. Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said yesterday, “Craig Bergman agreed to step away from his role with Newt 2012 today. He made a comment to a focus group prior to becoming an employee that is inconsistent with Newt 2012’s pledge to run a positive and solutions orientated campaign.”
The Republican candidates have shied away from making any comments on other hopeful’s religous beliefs after the blow-up when Robert Jeffress, a Texas pastor called Romney’s faith a cult on the same day he endorsed Rick Perry.
A new Pew Research Center survey shows that white evangelicals are more inclined to view the Mormon faith as a non-christian faith. White evangelicals are an important Republican voting bloc.
There has been no comment from the Romney camp.